Hundreds of fake designer watches smuggled from China, cops say

Mumbai: Hundreds of fake designer watches smuggled from China, cops say | YPF Photo

Mumbai: A preliminary investigation by the EOW’s CB Control Unit into the counterfeit wristwatch racket busted on Wednesday found that hundreds of expertly-made copies of designer watches are regularly smuggled into India from China.

In six simultaneous raids carried out on six shops in Manish market and Al Saba market on Wednesday, the CB control unit had seized realistic counterfeit designer wristwatches worth a total of Rs 1.06 crore. Police had arrested five defendants and charged them under copyright and trademark law.

According to EOW officials, investigations conducted so far indicate that the seized watches were only part of a massive amount of fake watches that are routinely smuggled into India from China.

“The information we have obtained so far indicates that hundreds of these watches are made in China and sent to India by sea. These watches are concealed in large consignments of legitimate cargo, and after landing at the docks Indians, the watches are discreetly removed while the rest of the shipment is sent to its intended destination.Through circuitous routes and many layers of agents and middlemen, these watches end up in large markets with dozens small and medium-sized shops,” said an officer who is part of the investigation.

The officer added that the profits of this racket are huge as each watch does not cost more than Rs 400 to Rs 500 to dealers but is sold between Rs 3,000 and Rs 10,000 or even more.

“Dealers indicate the price after evaluating the purchasing power of their customers. The five defendants detained on Wednesday had even set up social media pages offering designer watches at disposable prices, supposedly as part of special sales. We have reviewed the watches and they are almost like the genuine watches with only manufacturers or experts in the field being able to tell the difference,” the officer said.

During Wednesday’s searches, police seized a total of 2,082 watches bearing the names of world-famous brands such as Fossil, Diesel, Michael Kors and Giorgio Armani. The five defendants, identified as Pravin Patel, Shravan Purohit, Abdul Sheikh, Junaid Sheikh and Shahid Ansari, have been handed over to MRA Marg Police for further investigation, officers said.

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